How come the Catholic kids do so bad compared to Mormons, etc.?


This article compares various religions and the teen sexual activities of their adherents:

How come the Catholic kids do so poorly in comparison to Mormons and Evangelicals?


it says: "Only 12.6 percent of Mormon teens had had sex, compared to 18 percent of evangelicals and Catholics, 15 percent of mainliners and 19 percent of Jewish teens. "

… (Mormon teens are also, incidentally, much more likely than any other religious group to report using birth control at first sex, perhaps partly because more Mormons are married before they have sex, but maybe also because the rest REALLY don’t want their moms to find out.)

I was wondering where the kids are? how many were interviewed? What states they come from? These factors are one of the important ones in determining the accuracy of this survey/study.

What else the kids didn’t tell in this report? :wink:

ah! Republican presidential hopeful Mitt Romney’s image is on the article. Is he a Mormon?


This is the more telling quote from the article:

“For example, 77 percent of Mormon teens age 13 to 17 support saving sex for marriage, compared to 74 percent of evangelicals, 52 percent of mainline Protestants, 51 percent of Catholics and 27 percent of Jewish teens.”

Only 51 percent of Catholic teens support saving sex for marriage? Who is teaching our Catholic youth?


their parents


The lds church has an extensive youth program. Not only do the youth meet on Sunday for Young Women’s and Young Men’s class (conducted separately) but they also meet during the week also. The understanding that the body is a temple and needs to be treated as such is very strong in lds teaching. And chasity is very much a part of lds life. The teaching begins very early.

I think that this would explain the article very well.


I’m going to guess that LDS membership is much more intentional. A lot of Catholics are here because their family has always been here. They think becasue the Church is universal it has to make room for “diverse views.” Its part of being the biggest and oldest organization in the world. There’s the potential for a lot of fringe.

Dissenting Mormons leave the LDS Church. It’s too small to hide in.


Were the Catholic kids active, Mass-attending, confession-going kids or were they Catholic in name only?

I ask because there are so many more Catholics than Mormons (1 billion vs 12 million if you believe LDS stats), any random sampling of Catholics will be bound to have more inactives than a random sampling of Mormons.



Actually, many young mormons do commit sexual sin and still stay in the church. We need to remember that we are dealing with the youth on this thread.

For young people, many catholic parishes do not have strong youth programs where chasity is discussed and encouraged. I do know that ‘The Rock’ TV program does a good job in encouraging chasity but outside of that program, I see very little happening.

Catechism needs to be implemented among the teens also and the teachers need to be teen oriented.


I’d have to read the book to discover that. Perhaps inactive Mormons are not as likely to self-identify as Mormons. A random sampling should identify the correct percentage of inactive Catholics and the correct percentage of inactive Mormons. I suppose it is very likely there are more inactive Catholic youths as compared to inactive Mormon youths, but that still shows that somehow the Catholic Church is failing its youth as compared to Mormonism.


Inactivity may have nothing to due with sexual promiscuity. To be inactive in the lds church just means that one does not attend church on a regular basis. A mormon youth or young adult may not attend church and yet, still live a chaste life.


Massachusetts has a lower than average divorce rate while Utah has an average divorce rate. Is the fact that Romney is still married to his first wife due to the fact he lives in Massachusetts or he is Mormon? Just a thought.


Well this would beg the question of what is the Catholic religion NOT doing effectively that would cause this situation? Or, are we placing too much responsibility on the church for such matters?


There are statistics, and then there are darn statistics…

The article as I read it had too little information to make a decision on the credibility of the percentages.

It seems that both the person’s religious affiliation and answers to the survey questions are unverified by an independent source, relying on the respondent to identify their religion and accurately answer some very personal questions. It doesn’t seem to include the percentages of people who declined to answer the questions.

Where I live, the majority of the population self identify as “Catholic” but a far smaller percentage attend mass and actually practice their faith. I hear that in Utah, similarly many non-active, non church attending persons identify themselves as Mormon. The location of the people polled then, is likely to skew the results unless the population surveyed is controlled to ensure a similar composition of active/non-active adherents.

Interestingly, the Mormon respondents responded with the highest percentage of guilt and the lowest percentage of admission to being guilty. Could guilt be a motivation for deciding not to return the survey if the answers would reflect badly on their group? Obviously, some religious groups are more conscious of presenting an image to the public than others.

Could respondents have rationalized their answers, again, out of wanting to present themselves in the best light. Such as “well, such and such activity isn’t really sex…” Its reasonable that some, rather than admit to embarrasing things, might just opt out of the survey. Would the percentage of refusals be the same for all religions.

All respondents are likely to have made such decisions or rationalizations, again, there is no information as far as uncompleted surveys or independent verification of the answers. Would the “less” guilty respond more truthfully about such a personal topic? And again, could the perception of different religious groups about what is appropriate and inappropriate be different, and so then, would the embarrasment of admitting to something be more or less depending on religion? I’m guessing a Catholic would be less likely to admit to using birth control, for example

Its impossible to say, since the survey was not designed to capture that information.

The size of the sample isn’t mentioned. In a small sample 5 percentage points is much less significant than in a large one.

Was the pool of people random? Were equal numbers of each identified faith polled, or was a random pool of people polled for both religion and other questions at the same time, leaving large numbers of one religion and smaller numbers of another.

Another question to ask is the bias of the surveyor. How were the questions worded? Could the wording have skewed the results?

I have little faith in surveys and polls, statistics can be endlessly manipulated. An example of intended or unintended manipulation is this quote from the OP "How come the Catholic kids do so poorly in comparison to Mormons and Evangelicals?"
It leaves the impression that Catholics come out far more immoral than Mormons or Evangelicals, yet Catholics and Evangelicals were actually very similar, and not far behind the Mormon kids who responded.

That said, even if the numbers are credible, what is the survey saying? That the most moral group wins the truth sweepstakes?

Maybe its saying that some religious groups do a better job of welcoming and retaining their members who are lacking in some things but still trying.



The other relevant demographics are not available to calibrate against.

One would think from other surveys that in general mormons tend to chart a higher percentage of families that are americans of anglo-saxon ancestry with midlde to high income levels and college education.

Catholics include higher percentages of poor, uneducated people of “third world” origin.

We can also extrapolate from other available surveys that socioeconomic factors are extremely proportional to teen pregnancy, sexual activity outside of marriage, substance abuse and criminal behaviors.

I think those things could easily skew this survey. Mormons are not as demographically diverse as the other listed groups either with their group being heavily weighted to a US mountain west cultural demographic with significant north european/scandinavian influence.

but hey, the sanhedrin said the the Samaritans were wicked lowlifes to be avoided. Jesus chose to preach to them and gave us excellent examples of why we should be careful about reaching the wrong conclusions form these types of things. Nobody should be in “the temple” praying: ‘God, I thank you that I am not like other men—robbers, evildoers, adulterers—or even like this tax collector. I fast twice a week and give a tenth of all I get.’



IMHO–statistics arent very reliable. Too many factors go into something like this. I think ultimately it comes down to parents and the church. Some parents and churches do a better job at teaching abstinence then others. My daughter knows where I stand on the issue and I talk to her every chance I get(when it comes up within a natural conversation or a topic pops up) Our church youth group talks about sex often. They teach them the world’s way and then God’s way. I have to say they do a great job at educating our children starting in 6th grade. Our church also has parent trainings for parents with teens.

If you go to a church that doesnt offer any of this then the chances are higher a child might not truly understand God’s way and think sex is ok outside of marriage.

Many churches(ive noticed)dont offer youth group until a child is in high school. Churches need to start youth groups in 6th grade otherwise I think you may lose them to the worldly thinking.

Just my :twocents:


Joseph Smith said, “I teach them correct principles, and they govern themselves”. That principle is equally applicable to the relationship between the modern leadership of the Church and its members. The Ensign frequently carries excellent articles on good parenting and marriage practices. The following article is a good example. People taught correctly will act correctly:



Do they???

I have my doubts on this one!!! :slight_smile:


Youth and inexperience is showing again…


Because Mormons are held under far more restrictive boundaries socially, which is why they are often, but possibly unfairly, labeled “cultist”. They aren’t even allowed to watch secular films or media when they “are on ministry trips” according to ones I once talked to about how they interpreted Mel Gibson’s passion flick. I wonders if mormons took to it like other christians and they told me they hadn’t seen it because they had been on ministry since it came out and couldn’t watch…(I just thought it was a tacky excuse not to talk about Catholic fiction, but turns out it’s true).

Catholics are more free socially and a sad side effect is that they may not understand christian teaching on this topic as well. The 52% of Evanglicals(yeah you got that wrong) makes it quite obvious that Catholics are not alone in this regard and are on about par with the Protestant faiths.


And an inactive Catholic may still live a chaste life.

But being inactive may also mean that they are not being raised in the faith. And if they are not being raised in the faith but are claiming to be Catholic (or Mormon), their life style may not reflect the teachings of the religion.

So, someone claiming to be a religion but knowing nothing about it has no idea if they are acting within the bounds of the religion. My sister is considered Catholic, but has not been to Mass in over 20 years. Hardly Catholic.

DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit